UMass Law Professor Julie Baker presented at Stetson Law School’s ReImagining Advocacy Conference, which brought law faculty and practitioners together to explore the future of legal advocacy. Professor Baker’s presentation, titled “Social Justice Advocacy– Shifting the Balance,” was part of Stetson’s Panel Presentations on Experiential Learning and Pro Bono in Advocacy.
The presentation offered strategies for making social justice advocacy “easier”
and more effective, working with Judge Posner’s famous “Advocacy Formula.” According to the Advocacy Formula, the amount of persuasion that an advocate must exert in order to change her audience’s response is a function of (1) the DISTANCE of the audience from the advocate’s position, and (2) the RESISTANCE of the audience to that position. Various methods based in cognitive science (“whole-brain thinking”), story-telling/narrative techniques, and working with imagery can both close the distance between the audience and the position and lower the amount of resistance that the audience holds to the position resulting in more effective persuasion and better results.